Do you ever struggle to find meaning at work? Here’s something you can do about it
By Dr. Cristian Pavel, DDS
In December, Dr. Cristian Pavel of the Dental Yogis wrote about the transformation he achieved from embracing his passion for yoga and mindfulness in his personal practice. Now with a new year ahead of us, he has returned to share some insights and advice into achieving your own personal transformation and how it can help refocus your energy at work.
If we all did what we knew we should, we’d each be superhuman. Yet some people seem to do it all: get up early, exercise daily, eat healthy, be there for their family, crush it at work, and even floss on a daily basis. What’s their secret? What makes these people special, and why do we secretly hate their guts?
Here’s the truth: whether you know it or not, you’re an influencer. We all are. Our daily choices impact our loved ones, our patients, and everyone we encounter. Willpower comes from WHY, not how. Therefore, the GREATER the why, the more likely we are to accomplish what we desire to achieve.
Logic tells us to set the bar low because then we're less likely to fail, right? WRONG! The lower the goal, the lower the motivation and thus the more likely we are to wiggle our way out of it with an excuse. Think of your motivation like your gas tank – the more you fuel yourself up with reasons to accomplish something, the further you’ll go. Becoming superhuman requires only one thing: assertiveness.
I live by the mantra AND. All or Nothing, Decide. For every choice, every opportunity, and every desire that shows up in my life I DECIDE to either go all in or give it nothing. And when it comes to fulfilling a desire, going all in begins with setting the highest goal!
The point of setting a goal is not necessarily to attain it. Failure doesn’t have to be a big deal if you take the opportunity to learn from your mistakes. No one is going to condemn you for not reaching a goal. They’re more likely to praise you for trying.
I believe that there really is only one failure in life: being too afraid to act on your desires. I learned this powerful lesson in my pursuit of yoga.
Overcoming the Fear of Change
When I first began practicing yoga, I did it as an escape. I was working long hours in three dental offices doing all I could to please every patient and compensate for my lack of experience as a recent graduate. It was a very stressful time for me, and in hindsight I see that it really didn’t have to be.
After completing yoga teacher training in 2017 I knew I wanted to do more with yoga. The yoga community was a refreshing contrast to the perfection and competition-driven environment of dentistry. I felt a deep desire to bring yoga into dentistry, but I was afraid. What would my colleagues think of me? Who am I to tell other dentists what to do? Why would anyone listen to me?
As I succumbed to these fears two things began to happen: my energy began to drain, and my own personal yoga practice began to diminish. For better or worse, I hit a point at the end of my first year where I could no longer tolerate the way I was living, and the struggle I was feeling was greater than my fear of doing something about it.
All or Nothing, Decide
My entire life changed one day when I asked myself, “Is this what I want? Is this what I dreamt of?” I thought about my dental mentors and in that moment, I realized that I didn’t necessarily want the life they had, I wanted something different.
So, I went all in. I quit two of the offices I worked for, began auditioning to teach yoga, and dreamed up the Dental Yogi concept. Although I was filled with uncertainty, I was bursting with joy and energy. This joy and energy bled into everything I did, and I was determined to translate that into my practice.
I started by shifting my work mindset from a focus on earning money to offering my loving service to every patient. I began treating every encounter as a learning and growth opportunity. I also brought yoga into the office by doing miniature yoga flows with my staff in the mornings and practicing deep breathing exercises with my patients.
I soon found that the yoga flow positively impacted our staff cohesion, and the breathwork tremendously helped with patient anxiety. Almost every dentist began to tell me some variation of, “I need to do more yoga, but I don’t have the time.” After hearing this enough, I knew that this was my calling, so I began to give it my all!
Here’s the biggest kicker: despite practicing dentistry 50 percent less than before, I started earning more. My patients were feeding off my energy, and this attracted more patients and bigger cases.
Through this process, my personal growth became more natural. I started taking better care of myself and began ardently researching human optimization. It was no longer something just for me but became knowledge that I could use to empower my patients and colleagues as well.
Ironically, by focusing on my own desires, I became more alert and attuned to the needs of my patients. Because I was better rested, more physically fit, and mentally engaged, I could practice with more confidence, and the results speak for themselves.
Whether your passion is yoga or something else entirely, don’t be afraid to bring it to the workplace. It can be a powerful tool to empower your confidence, create deeper connections with colleagues and patients, and improve your practice.
My passion is yoga, and I will be back to share some specific yoga 101 tips that you can use with patients and staff. But it’s important to remember that there are other ways to achieve greater balance at work, and ultimately, you know deep down what drives you. Pay close attention to what lights you up and challenge the excuses that prevent you from doing them (money, time, what others might think, etc.). I encourage you to make a list of your passions and think through your daily motivations. Once you find what makes you happy, do more of that and don’t be afraid to dream big. That’s the first step towards finding balance.
So, as we step into the roaring 20s, take a moment to reflect on what you desire and go DO IT. Aim high! Let your goals give you goosebumps, and say them out loud. Never forget that you can only give back when you first give to yourself. Namaste.